Letter #5

Original Letter [PDF]

Bersenjewka, the 28th of June 1928

Dear Uncle Josef!

About four weeks ago, I received from America the “[Monats] Anzeiger” as a gratis premium the Illustrierten Neuen Deutschen Reichs-Kalender for the leap year 1928, and today I was brought out of the Post two numbers, those of the first and of the fifth of June. The [Monats] Anzeiger itself leads me to conclude that my letter, which I sent you at the end of winter, reached its goal, although I have no letter as yet to confirm that conclusion. The calendar caused me particular great joy. It is, in my opinion, a little book to be treasured. I look upon it as a window through which one can, to some degree, view both the inner and the outer world, and through which anyone, who takes life seriously, can gain a sufficient knowledge of the important questions of life. As a source of information, that calendar is, in many respects, an almost indispensable handbook for the common man, yet on the condition that all notations are true and that it not pass over in silence matters of more or less greater importance. And it is precisely in this respect that I have some fault to find with that dear Illustrierten Neuen Deutschen Reichs-Kalendar. It is to be taken for granted and entirely understandable that all notations and explanations relating to America should be faultless and without error. Information concerning Germany and other countries, too, does not give me cause to doubt its correctness. What concerns Russia, however, the author of the calendar seems not to have had wholly correct information. According to his statement, Moscow has 1,028,000 inhabitants, whereas, in reality, it counts 2,400,000 human beings as its citizens. In addition, in the section entitled, “The largest cities in the world, that have over 200,000 inhabitants,” all the metropolises of Russia are missing, this in spite of the fact that there are quite a number of them. Accordingly, we have, in the number place, Moscow with 2,400,000 inhabitants; then comes Leningrad (Petersburg) with 1,616,000; Kijew with 494,000; Ba---with 447,00; Odessa with 412,000; Lha---with 410,000; Taschkent with 313,000; Rostow on the Don with 305,000; Tiflis with 283,000; and, finally, Ser--- with 212,000. Those are nothing but large industrial and trade centers, deserving, however, in my estimation, more space in a sourcebook of information. It is, admittedly, no secret that Russia is soaring upwards with giant strides in all areas of industry, trade, and culture. He, who wants no part of it, seems ---. “Of course,” the skeptic will say, “its how one takes it.” Quite true, but one thing is sure: For the working masses, Russia is not an empty speck in the cosmos; for, whether it seem to him so or not, in the interest of the workers everything will be done here, and that cannot be hidden in silence from the rest of working humanity, since, as is known, the Communist International already bears the responsibility for that. What does not publicly reach the common man, reaches him in secret; and the forbidden fruit is always more seductive, and, therefore, more attractive than that which is allowed. Wow, I have run off a bit at the mouth, and I fear that what might be good for Soviet Russian might not be good for me. I wanted thereby only to point out that what lies in the future for a country like Russia is not to be ignored as the esteem author of the calendar has done.

In conclusion, yet a few words about my personal life. We still continue to find ourselves in the same situation that I told you about in my previous letter, and are burdened with the same yoke of work as in the past. Our children are healthy. They made in the past year major progress, and both advanced to the next division: Leokadia into the 7th, the last in our school, and Eugenius into the 4th. What concerns my health and that of my wife, we cannot brag about that. Both of us are in such a condition that one cannot speak of decent health; and, given all the work and cares, there is not enough time to cure oneself and get sufficient rest.

From home, I’ve had no news since the beginning of spring. In their last letters, they described the great need in all matters. My brother Theobald even expressed the wish to emigrate to America, if it were possible and he could raise the necessary means for that.

Here, in this “Moskauer Gouvernement,” the prospects for a good harvest are up to now excellent.  And yet, the weather is unbearable. Hardly a day passes without rain; and we are afraid that the harvest, if the weather doesn’t change soon, will have a sad ending.

With hearty greetings to you, dear Uncle, and to all your family, and to all relatives and acquaintances in America, I now put an end to my writing and sign off respectfully.

Your nephew
Joh. Renner

P.S. If the “Monats-Anzeiger” finds this letter suitable material for its columns, that will make me happy.

Joh. Renner

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